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Should you hire remote workers? For an increasing number of startups and established companies, the answer to this question is a resounding yes.

As times have changed, so has our concept of work environments. Over the past few years, more and more companies are honoring the demand for remote work, with an estimated 80 to 90% of the US workforce wanting to work from home at least part-time.

What might have once been a niche workplace trend has now become one of the top ways for companies to attract talented candidates and stay competitive in the labor market.

5 top reasons why companies hire remote workers

Whether you’re hiring remote workers for the first time or deciding to let your current employees telecommute, here are the top benefits of jumping on the remote work bandwagon.

1. Enhance productivity

Worried that employees will sit on their couch and watch Netflix all day? Don’t be.

Studies have concluded that employees who work remotely are more productive than those who don’t. Remote work takes away the distractions that occur in a traditional office setting.

Plus, it allows employees greater control over their schedule. Think about it: some people are night owls; others are morning birds.

Each of us has an internal clock (a chronotype, reports the NYTimes) that lets us be more productive at some times of day than others; the standard 9 to 5 really doesn’t work for a lot of people.

But when employees work remotely, they can design an optimal schedule that allows them to be more focused and have greater output than their in-office counterparts.

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2. Reduce costs and offer better benefits

Many people ask, “Should you hire remote workers just to save a few bucks?” We say yes! Reducing overhead is top-of-mind for nearly every business, but with offices full of employees it can be very difficult to achieve.

With remote workers, it’s much easier to lower the costs of internet, rent, furniture, and utilities with no impact on employee morale. You also don’t have to strain your budget with trendy office perks, like free snacks, coffee, office parties, and more.

According to a Cisco study, companies that allow their employees to use their own devices could see an estimated savings of $3,150 per employee per year. Plus, you could pour some of that money you’re saving on a brick-and-mortar location into more meaningful benefits for your employees.

Ask just about anyone if they’d rather have a foosball table in the break room or health insurance, and they’d surely say the latter. Trendy perks might have seemed all the rage for attracting young talent years ago, but today’s workers are more interested in having their health, wellness, and financial needs met.

3. Access top talent across the world

Requiring employees to be physically present in your office restricts potential candidates to those in your geographical area (or you’ll incur huge travel expenses to fly in prospective candidates). By hiring remote employees, you’ll have a world of opportunities at your fingertips — literally. Your business could be located in New York and your perfect candidate might be living in Tokyo.

Or if you don’t want to deal with time zone differences, you could still source candidates from a huge swatch of states or countries in your time zone. No longer do you have to restrict your hiring to a handful of job seekers in your area, but instead can scope out the best talent all over the country or even world.

4. Reduce employee turnover

Employee turnover can be incredibly expensive. Recruiting and training new hires has a direct effect on your bottom line. It’s estimated to cost around $10,000 to replace an employee making $50,000 a year.

A shockingly high number of workers — about two-thirds — say they would change jobs just for an easier commute. By hiring remote workers, you instantly eliminate one of the top reasons for employee turnover.

Another added benefit of offering flexible work options is better work-life balance. Remote workers tend to be less stressed and get more physical activity than in-office workers. Happy employees stay longer, again reducing your turnover and taking the strain off your HR department.

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5. Save the environment

Hiring remote workers is a great way to go green. Global Workforce Analytics estimates that if people worked remotely half of the time, we could save:

  • 54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 640 million barrels of oil
  • $20 million in gas
  • 119 billion highway driving miles

Remote workers also tend to use less paper and resources, another great reduction in waste.

Should you hire remote workers to stay competitive?

While there are numerous benefits to hiring remote workers, this arrangement comes with certain challenges, too. Since employees aren’t meeting in person, they’ll need robust tools to communicate throughout the day.

You’ll need to make expectations clear from a distance, as well as create structures that enable collaboration across geographic areas and perhaps even time zones. But with the right tools and people in place, many companies deal with these challenges to create. close-knit, innovative, remote-first culture.

And they tend to attract some of the best candidates, who are intrinsically motivated, independent, and committed to growing with a company that respects their desire for flexibility and work-life balance.